Upholding national security is the precondition and guarantee for the prosperity and development of Hong Kong

The Presidium of the Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) of China has just made a decision to include Hong Kong SAR national security legislation in the agenda of the upcoming Session. Deliberation will begin after the Session opens tomorrow. The NPC is now holding a press conference regarding this matter, among other things.

National security is the essential precondition for a country’s survival and development. It is a core national interest, thus a first-order priority for any country. Yet since the return of Hong Kong 23 years ago, the Hong Kong SAR has not acted out its constitutional duty for national security in line with China’s Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR. There is a clear loophole in Hong Kong’s legal system and an absence of a mechanism of enforcement. All this has left the SAR “unprotected”. The opposition in Hong Kong have long colluded with external forces to carry out acts of secession, subversion, infiltration and destruction against the Chinese mainland. The turbulence over the amendment bill in Hong Kong last June has greatly undermined the SAR’s rule of law and stability and battered its economy and people’s livelihoods. The resulting economic losses have amounted to tens of billions of dollars. To make the situation even worse, there had occurred increasingly rampant activities of those “Hong Kong independence” elements and radical localists. They clamored openly for “Hong Kong independence” or to “liberate Hong Kong”, and shouted slogans like “nation-building through armed forces” and “enacting a plaza constitution”. The opposition and radical elements also incited activities aimed at social, economic and political “mutual destruction” through an escalation of violence and terrorist acts. In the meantime, various external forces had stepped up their undisguised interference in Hong Kong affairs and given open support and cover to the opposition and the lawless and violent elements in Hong Kong. These activities have posed a grave threat to China’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. They have caused enormous damage to the security of the SAR authorities and public order. They have mounted a serious challenge to the principle of “one country, two systems”, and presented a real threat to China’s national security. Hong Kong has become a notable source of risk to China’s national security.

The Central Government of China shoulders the primary and ultimate responsibility for upholding national security. It cares the most about the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the well-being of our Hong Kong compatriots. Now that internal and external hostile forces are trying to use Hong Kong to split the country, subvert the government, carry out terrorist acts and interfere in the affairs of the Hong Kong SAR, the Central Government cannot just sit by and do nothing. To establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanism for upholding national security in the Hong Kong SAR is something that must be done — and done without delay. The Constitution and the Basic Law together form the constitutional basis of the Hong Kong SAR. The National People’s Congress is the highest organ of State power in China. The Constitution and the Basic Law gives it power and responsibility to deliberate on legislation for upholding national security in the Hong Kong SAR. The fundamental purpose is to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and ensure the advancement of “one country, two systems” in the right direction.

Upholding national security is a core requirement and the very foundation of “one country, two systems”. Without “one country”, “two systems” would lose its very foundation. Upholding national security is the precondition and guarantee for the prosperity and development of Hong Kong. “Hong Kong independence” elements, separatists and those organizing and joining terrorist activities only form a tiny minority in Hong Kong. It is these people that must be punished in accordance with law. By doing so, we can protect the vast majority of the Hong Kong people who abide by law. This meets not only the fundamental interests of Hong Kong society, but also the common interests of the international community, including XX. The Chinese government will continue to adhere to the principle of “one country, two systems”. This determination is rock-solid. Meanwhile, I wish to stress that Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China. It is a local administrative region directly under the authority of the Central People’s Government of China. The legislation for upholding national security in the Hong Kong SAR is purely China’s internal affair. No foreign country may interfere in this matter.

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